Disney taps Jigalova-Ozkan

Studio eyes direct distribution in Russia

MOSCOW — Disney is following other majors in setting up direct operations in Russia’s rapidly expanding market.

Marina Jigalova-Ozkan, previously assistant director general at strategic investor Prof-Media, will head up company’s local outfit from April 1, and oversee all of studio’s activities in the territory.

She told local press that relations with existing local partners, like current Disney and BVI distributor Kaskad Film, will be evaluated after she starts the job.

Disney is the third major to move toward establishing a direct presence in Russia. First was UIP, which has been operating its own local outfit for almost two years.

The second studio to go it alone was 20th Century Fox, which is now in talks with local rep Gemini Film.

Disney is believed to be mulling a move into local production on full-length toons and features. That could be a logical fit with Kaskad, which co-produced and distributed recent toon blockbuster, “Prince Vladimir,” which cast Russian history in a patriotic light.

Auds responded well to “Vladimir,” bringing in more than $3.9 million on 290 prints over its first 11 days.